Tillie's Back!  #2

  • By Leslie Friedman
  • 05 Dec, 2016

Happy Monday, friends! This week, I want to share something with you that it really near and dear to my heart. Back in January, shortly before Carla and I ran our Glass Slipper Challenge, I read an article on Facebook about a (super-fast) woman named Jodi who runs for a (completely adorable) boy named River who has been diagnosed with spina bifida. The two were complete strangers until they were paired together by a wonderful organization called I Run 4 Michael; almost like a virtual physical activity pen pal. I was a HUGE pen pal-er back in the late 90s, and with my new love for running, this little article seemed almost too good to be true. So I did some research and learned about the I Run 4 community in a nutshell.

I Run 4 matches up those who have a love and passion for ANY physical activity with a buddy who is unable to be as physically active as they would like. Generally buddies are children who have been diagnosed with a disorder or illness that prevents them from most or all physical activity. There are also subgroups that match athletes with siblings of buddies, and wounded veterans.

Awesome, right?! I was in, and signed up right away. I think the article that I read sparked a big interest from folks, so the waiting list to be matched was about six months long. Thankfully, the list of athletes is always considerably longer than the list of buddies. When I signed up, I wasn’t sure that I could give away my running for someone else. Running was something that I fought with, as most of you know, and even still I think that my running mileage is still for me, but I knew I could definitely dedicate WODs to my buddy. So I waited, and waited, and waited, and on July 2nd I was finally matched my buddy!

My buddy’s name is Andrew. He is 12-years-old and lives near Tulsa, Oklahoma. Andrew has been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called partial mosaic trisomy 17. He has been through more in his 12 years than most people go through in a lifetime. His mom, Holly, and I became Facebook friends and write each other a few times a week via the I Run 4 Facebook group. Sometimes I post silly pictures, like Jess, Carla, and I in our matching outfits, sometimes I post a picture of the WOD I did for Andrew, and sometimes I just write to check in. It’s such an easy little part of the week that means so much to my little buddy, and means a lot to me too!

Right now I consider myself down and out. I don’t have any workouts to dedicate to Andrew, but he is one of many motivators for me to get back at it. Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us going, you know? I hope some of you will sign up to be an athlete, and I also hope you spread the word. I am so glad I signed up and now have Andrew and his family in my life.

If you or someone you know is interested in signing up to be matched, check out www.whoirun4.com . The waiting list for runners is still pretty long, so if you know anyone that is interested in being on the buddy side of it, check that out! Buddies are matched in less than a week.

Do something great today. I will if you will!

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